New Career move ---Need Advice!

I am finally taking the steps to pursue my passion for shoe design. I graduated with a BA 2 years ago and currently work in the Health Policy field, I like what I do but realize that this is not where my passion lies. I am working on creating my shoe design career map and need some sound advice. I have no experience or formal training in this field. I live in VA and realize that I need to relocate to NYC - currently looking at applying to FIT. I realize that the first thing I need to do is to take some drawing courses. I would love to hear from people who can provide some insight on steps that I should consider or avoid. Also, I need to find a job in NYC that will provide some experience or at least a foot in the door while I gain formal training. Please Advise! Thanks.


Are you looking in fashion footwear, or athletic. Two very different worlds, but both pretty fun.

Thanks for the response, Yo.

I am interested in fashion footwear. Have any suggestions?

Well, I’m in athletic footwear. There are other folks on here who are in fashion that can give you much more advice in that realm…

i do fashion footwear and one of the schools i finished is Polimoda in italy…this is apparently a sister school of FIT.

i’ve heard that FIT is actually not so prepared for footwear (just like Polimoda!) because they are actually schools that started with apparel orientated courses and therefore have very few experienced teachers for footwear.

i’d consider doing a pattern making course for footwear as this is always something good to know. i think it’s a good base to start on as this will teach you what you can and cannot do with shoes and it will give you a good eye for the lines that make up a shoe…as in proportions, where certains cuts can be made etc. i personally found it very helpful. the course i did for pattern making was in Milan (Italy) at a school called ARS SUTORIA, it’s a very professional and well organized school and they will give you exactly what you are paying for!

honestly i think after (and during) a pattern making course you can start experimenting with your own sketching skills…look at other people’s drawings, pick up little details that you like and make them your own.

obviously any drawing course could be helpful but it could also be a waste of time.

if you can find any type of designer job while studying that would be the best but it’s not the easiest thing to do. but you could even just consider working in a footwear shop as that does give you alot of input too!

I copied my post from your thread in the other forum.

You will have to go to Europe if you want to study shoe design properly and in depth. There is nowhere that can teach you how to do purely athletic shoe design, but I studied for a degree in footwear at De Montfort University and there were one or two athletic projects, they will teach you to pattern cut just about any type of shoe, plus grade into sizes widths and also to make any kind of shoe, plus in your final year you could choose to make any kind of footwear you like.

Pattern cutting is vital IMO. You can save so much time if you are in a factory and know how to amend standards, also in order to get your designs just right you may sometimes want to cut the patterns yourself. You will also learn to design shoes to the correct cost, about leather, making shoes that can be manufactured (I see so many cool designs that are impossible to manufacture!).

I did find that specialising in Footwear and getting a qualification in Footwear design made getting a job much easier when I graduated. Because there are so few specialist footwear courses in the world. Also because it is pretty much impossible to get a job here in the UK (also most places in Europe) without a footwear qualification . Fortunately we have quite a few schools.

Anyway - there is a list of schools on this website.

Good luck!

Finally to add: ARS Sutoria has a fantastic reputation. Jelenas’ advice is correct.